Cause and effect theories of attention: The role of conceptual metaphors

Review of General Psychology 6 (2):153-165 (2002)
Abstract
Scientific concepts are defined by metaphors. These metaphors determine what atten- tion is and what count as adequate explanations of the phenomenon. The authors analyze these metaphors within 3 types of attention theories: (a) --cause-- theories, in which attention is presumed to modulate information processing (e.g., attention as a spotlight; attention as a limited resource); (b) --effect-- theories, in which attention is considered to be a by-product of information processing (e.g., the competition meta- phor); and (c) hybrid theories that combine cause and effect aspects (e.g., biased- competition models). The present analysis reveals the crucial role of metaphors in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and the efforts of scientists to find a resolution to the classic problem of cause versus effect interpretations.
Keywords attention
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